Polk State College will host two events to honor its veterans.
The first event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 6 in the LAC courtyard at Polk State Lakeland.
The second event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 11 — Veterans Day — in room WST 126 in the Polk State Winter Haven Student Center.
Both events will feature addresses by President Eileen Holden, Veterans Services Coordinator Carole Toney and student Ryan Darley, a decorated Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq.
Student-veterans will also set up tables to showcase everything from businesses they’ve started since returning from the service to their own artwork.
“If veterans see other veterans doing well while still going to school, they’ll follow,” Toney said.
“This is about creating a sense of camaraderie among our student-veterans, about helping them to get to know one another, and showing them they have lots of people to turn to on campus who know what they’ve been through.”
Toney said during the events there will also be a microphone available for student-veterans to introduce themselves to attendees — a step that may be difficult, but also important, for them to take.
“It’s to get them used to introducing themselves as a vet,” Toney said. “Once they are able to do that, all kinds of resources and opportunities open up to them that they might not ever know about otherwise.”
There will also be free food at the two events.
Toney said all members of the College community — not just veterans — are encouraged to attend.
“The College has never done an event like this before. We want to honor our veterans,” Toney said.
Polk State College currently serves more than 400 student-veterans, and that number is growing at a rapid rate.